Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"This week was pretty 'slowey fast'..." ("slowey fast" was a phrase Taylor used as a little kid...)

Hey Fam,

This week was pretty slowey fast. Some days just flew and some took a while to take off.  

That is funny that you were able to talk to Tyler Anderson yesterday at Stake conference. We actually had dinner with Bishop Anderson and his family last night and he told me that Coach Anderson talked to him about that earlier that day. Pretty cool how information makes it down the line. The Andersons are so fun, I really love their family haha. All of their kids are so cute and really advanced in gospel knowledge. It is easy to teach them and we probably end up learning more from them, than they do from us. We had these good pulled pork sandwiches and had this Cajun cream pie, good shtuff. We then had a little lesson on the Plan Of Salvation and we had all of the kids help us draw it. It was really fun and we are excited to go back next week. I really look up to and respect Bishop Anderson, he has a lot on his plate, but he submits cheerfully and with patience. You can tell that the Lord trusts him. He has been a big influence in my life for being and engaged and loving leader. And life they say "Behind every great man is an even greater woman." They have have a rock solid family, built on the foundation of Christ, our Savior.

Haha I am glad that you guys liked watching the videos and looking at the pictures. Those Elder Grylls videos came from me being quarantined for 3 days alone in the MTC... A little bit of entertainment. Haha yeah that was a pretty fun birthday video. I really do feel blessed to have a great companion and a good friend. I remember really hoping that I could make some really good friends on my mission that would last through out my life and I feel like that with Elder Bennett. We have a ton of fun and that just makes a mission the best thing in the world. 

I know what you mean dad when you say your capacity to read long articles has diminished. I feel like that has happened with me as well and it scares me. I find myself reading the start of a talk or article and then getting wanting to move on to the next after I have gotten to the meat of it. Lately I have been making myself finish what I have started. I just hope I will have the ability to read books and textbooks for long periods of time when I get home. I think the one the thing that I can read for a long time is the Book of Mormon and grateful for that. Youtube, instagram and facebook are ruining the patience of the world. There is a good mormon message about that called the voice of the spirit. " The Lord require patience in a world that demands instant gratification." I have also tried to pick up drawing little cartoons again in my planners when I have free time after I saw your funny one of your arch nemesis. And more than likely we will be able to skype on Christmas, in fact I am about 90 percent sure we will. 10 percent just in case something crazy happens. 

That is cool that you had a lesson all on goals mom. That is such an important thing to learn and it makes it even better if you can learn it before your mission. Your mission is all about goals, we set goals every night, we set goals every week and set goals for every transfer. In fact every thursday we set apart two hours of the day to weekly plan, talk about our area and set goals. Goals goals goals. And I think you hit it right on the head, it is even more important to set meaningful and realistic goals. I also like that quote from Sister Hinckley's book. Life really is about the small and simple things. Baby steps. 

This week we had interviews with President Wall and I honestly believe that we have the best mission president and best mission out there. He is so inspired and he genuinely cares and loves his missionaries. You couldn't ask for more. It is funny because it almost seems like he knows more about us than we do ourselves haha. He just makes you feel so needed and appreciated, like this mission wouldn't be able to work without our specific talents and personality. President Wall definitely believes that the mission is for the missionary and if he can build up the missionaries, that the missionaries will build up the church. He told me a lot of things and man it was food for thought. I don't know what will happen in my immediate future, but I know his plans for me and what he would like me to do and refine. He told me things also that he thinks I am good at and he wants me to refine those skills to help other missionaries and people throughout my life. I don't want to write too much, because I would feel like I was bragging or building myself up haha and I am not trying to do that. But I am really grateful for President Wall and all that he does for us, he is truly inspired and probably one of the best leaders and most Christlike people that I know. He also told me that I am no longer the youngest looking missionary in the mission haha. I guess you look to young to have a 23 year old mom and I look to young to be on a mission. 

We also had to prepare a 20 minute lesson to role play with the Assistants and Sister Wall on one of the missionary lessons. We were freaking out before and we kept practicing and practicing, but we couldn't get it down. So we went into the lesson a little nervous, but we both tried to ask questions and discern from the spirit. They were acting as a less-active couple and you could tell they were not happy with each other. A few minutes into the lesson they told us that they had lost a son a year previous when he drowned in their pool. The wife said she was mad at herself, her husband was mad at her and that she felt God was mad at her. It was a pretty intense situation, but they spirit was there to guide us. The spirit was really strong and afterwards one of the APs, Elder Helie told us a story about when he had a similar situation happen to him. He told us something that spirit told him that he knew of a Father who sent his son to die, who knew what was going to happen, so all of his children could come back to him. Pretty powerful. The spirit really is the true teacher and in the end all we have to do is rely on the Holy Ghost and we will be effective missionaries. That is President Walls new focus for the mission, be spirit-led. Become ODD missionaries (Observe, Discern, Do it)

We had a really dinner and lesson with the Simmons that night on gratitude. We showed a little mormon message and then we went around and all said what we were grateful for. This is a great time to count our many blessings.  A couple cool quotes about gratitude from a talk that Pres. Ucthdorf gave

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."4

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables you to count your blessings.”12

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” --Johm F Kennedy


This is an awesome ward and we had some really fun visits with families this week inculding: The Dikets, Voisins, Smiths, Holloways, Phillip and Maggie, Cedric and Makkie, Laurie and her family and Bubba. 

I love you guys so much and I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving week and break!! Enjoy the family time and the the opportunity that we have to remember our blessings. You are the biggest one in my life! Blessing I mean haha. I love you

Prayers and Thoughts always

Elder Devin Soper

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